Predators 5, Avalanche 3
Fans started tossing caps onto the ice, celebrating what they
thought was a hat trick by Nashville captain Jason Arnott. Patric
Hornqvist actually had tipped in two of those goals, which Arnott
“I was laughing on the bench,” Arnott said. “I knew he tipped
it so nothing you can do. But it’s good spirits to get our crowd
into it. They haven’t had much to cheer about of late at home. It’s
nice to see they’re still behind us and still love it.”
Hornqvist finished with two power-play goals and an assist to
help the Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Thursday
night. Hornqvist understood the confusion because he said he knows
it can be so hard to see if he tipped the puck or not.
“I touched those two, and I’m happy for the team because we got
a huge win,” Hornqvist said.
The Predators came into the game seventh in the Western
Conference, only four points behind sixth-place Colorado, and they
now have earned five of six points possible with a game remaining
in this last four-game homestand before the Olympic break.
Arnott had a goal and three assists, and Steve Sullivan had a
power-play goal and an assist. Joel Ward also had a goal, and Shea
Weber added two assists as Nashville won the season series with
Colorado 3-1-0, which could be a tiebreaker at season’s end.
“We’re looking beyond them,” Sullivan said. “We’re looking to
teams ahead of them. Those are the teams we’re trying to catch.
They’re ahead of us. Hopefully before April 5th, they’ll be behind
us by a lot.”
Cody McLeod, Matt Duchene and Justin Mercier scored for
Colorado, which has lost four of five coming off a season-best
six-game winning streak.
Colorado had killed 24 straight penalties coming in and
stretched that to 25 before Nashville scored three goals on the
next five man advantages.
McLeod put Colorado up 1-0 at 16:39 of the first period after
Nashville failed to keep the puck in its zone. Chris Stewart
corralled the puck and brought it up the right side before passing
cross-ice to McLeod, who put a snap shot past Pekka Rinne.
The Predators were coming off the longest shootout in franchise
history, going 10 rounds with 20 shooters in a 1-0 loss Tuesday
night to Phoenix. Nashville outshot the Avalanche 14-8 in the first
and kept it up in the second but kept having trouble finding the
Not even 72 seconds of a 5-on-3 helped with fans screaming for
the Predators to shoot. Kyle Quincey came out of the penalty box,
then Arnott fired a slap shot from the blue line at the right half
boards that Hornqvist redirected to tie it at 1 at 6:46 of the
Trotz called that a timely goal for a team that had been
“stumbling and bumbling” on the 5-on-3.
“It wasn’t pretty but we got it done,” Trotz said.
That opened the scoring up. Only 63 seconds later, Ward
backhanded the rebound of Jerred Smithson’s shot past Craig
Anderson for a 2-1 lead.
“That was a key moment in the game when we took the 5-on-3
penalty,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. “We did a good job
killing that, then they score as soon as the guy gets out of the
Colorado took a timeout at 11:09 of the second, and Duchene tied
it at 2 with his 18th of the season from the slot on a power play
Again, Nashville answered, this time even more quickly.
Arnott scored from in front 23 seconds later to put the
Predators ahead to stay. Hornqvist tipped in Arnott’s slap shot at
19:19 to pad the lead. Arnott originally had been awarded the
Predators’ first goal, and fans started celebrating before the
announcement that Hornqvist had scored his team-leading 23rd goal
of the season.
Sullivan added his 11th with a slap shot from the right dot at
10:31 of the third. Mercier scored his first this season on a rush
from in front at 18:42.
“We were sloppy in a lot of areas,” Colorado defenseman Scott
NOTES: Linesman Steve Barton left the game midway through the
first period after tangling feet with Nashville defenseman
Alexander Sulzer, which sent Barton crashing backward onto the ice.
… Hornqvist, a Swedish Olympian, also leads Nashville with eight
power-play goals. … Nashville defenseman Cody Franson was a
scratch. He will miss a couple weeks after breaking a rib Tuesday
night in a shootout loss to Phoenix.